Know Thy Widget

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Do you know what you sell? What’s your “widget”? I know that sounds like a really silly question, but it’s one you should ask yourself. How many times have you attended a networking event and been asked “So, what do you do?” What does your answer sound like? Are you happy with it? Is who you are and what you sell crystal clear? If not, I’d suggest getting clearer. Without your widget, the thing you sell, the reason you are in business, and being clear, how do you expect your audience to buy? If what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to you, it certainly won’t make sense to the person you’re speaking to.

In order to make a buying decision, dots must connect—starting with the widget. Make it easy for them. Have you ever asked someone what they do and they go on and on for sometimes what feels like ten minutes and, when they pause and smile at you as if they’ve just presented the best college dissertation, you still don’t know what they do? When I hear this, I say, “I’m sorry, what do you do?” And they look at me in total disbelief of my inability to “get it.” Some are even offended. I’ve watched these same people go on and on and on to the point where the listener’s eyes roll back into their head, but they keep going on and on.

Here’s the thing: if you are clear on what you do and what you sell, you will be able to communicate it in a way that allows the listener to “get it” as well. If they get it, they’ll probably inquire more, because you’ve nailed your explanation and it will be a refreshing change to those who struggle to understand other’s explanations. You might even get a high-five. Here’s an example of the best explanation I’ve ever heard. It was so good, I almost cried.

I met a young fellow at an entrepreneur’s event. He greeted me. “Hi, I’m Buddy.” I asked him what he did and he said, “I make peanut butter.” Yep, exactly. If you go to his website you will see that this is exactly what he does. What can we learn from this? You don’t have to over complicate your explanation. Simply understand what your widget is (in Buddy’s case, it was making peanut butter) and state it. You can always define more (like why you do what you do and why that particular widget) as your conversation naturally evolves.

Bottom line is what I like to call the three Cs: Connecting dots = Clarity = Close.